The Wizard Shazam has a new face.
According to Entertainment Weekly, Djimon Honsou assumed the role of the Wizard Shazam in next year’s Shazam! while no one was looking. Previous reports indicated This Is Us‘ Ron Cephas Jones would play the Wizard, but it seems scheduling conflicts prevented this and Honsou stepped into the role during production earlier this year.
Honsou’s appearance in the film makes another connection between Shazam! and Captain Marvel. The two films will be released a month apart and are based on characters called Captain Marvel. Shazam! will feature the original Captain Marvel, created by Bill Parker and C.C Beck in 1940’s Whiz Comics #2. The character was more popular than Superman during his heyday in the late 1940s, but eventually disappeared when DC’s ongoing copyright lawsuit shuttered the Captain Marvel line of comics in 1953. DC would eventually license the hero and his associated characters from its publisher Fawcett Comics; buying them outright in the 1990s. During that time, the trademark on the name “Captain Marvel” lapsed and Marvel Comics jumped in with Mar-Vell, their first Captain Marvel, in 1967.
Jude Law plays Mar-Vell in March 8th’s Captain Marvel, though the title character will be played by Brie Larson. Honsou will also appear in the film, reprising his Guardians of the Galaxy role as Korath the Pursuer. Which makes all the timing and coincidences all the more interesting. Even if the original Captain Marvel never uses that name again, he will be inextricably linked to his Marvel Comics counterpart.
Shazam! follows Captain Marvel into theaters on April 5th.